The English Premier League is coming to America.
No, Wayne Rooney won't be playing league matches in Illinois or anything like that, but thanks to NBC, you'll be able to watch him and the rest of the most popular league in the world every week.
NBCUniversal will soon become the exclusive U.S. media rights holder for English Premier League soccer, officials from NBC and the NBC Sports Group announced Sunday night.
The multi-year agreement begins with the 2013-14 season. NBCUniversal will have both the English- and Spanish-language media rights to all 380 Premier League matches across all platforms and devices in the United States.
Let's take a look at this newest development.
What it Means
Will this increase the popularity of soccer in the United States?
Watching your favorite EPL squad just got a whole lot easier.
It's not like the United States never broadcasted games from overseas. ESPN showed the biggest matches, you could stream a lot via ESPN3 and the FOX Soccer Channel showed plenty of the action.
But ESPN3 isn't always reliable (depending on your internet connection or lack thereof) and not everyone has FOX Soccer Channel. It wasn't necessarily the ideal setup for hardcore fans.
With NBC set to show matches on NBC, NBC Sports Network and NBCSports.com, the EPL should be more accessible in the States than ever before.
The new contract, which begins with the start of the next season in August, should only further help the rise of soccer in the United States.
Soccer's popularity has steadily been increasing with the MLS, especially in cities like Seattle and Portland (and a bunch of others), but it's easy to admit that America's soccer is lacking something (or a lot of somethings) that the EPL possesses.
English soccer is a beautiful game, and making it easily accessible will only further pique the interest of common fans, and maybe more importantly, young kids who would have otherwise shrugged off the sport.
Assuming NBC gives EPL matches more airtime than ESPN ever did (another important factor is that NBC is basic cable, further increasing the accessibility), this could be huge news for soccer in the United States.